Its the end of summer so i went bak to school.At school we do harder work than p1 but i can do

This is Tara now. I'm having a proud Mum moment - correct use of "than"? You go Claudia! 
(We're ignoring "its".)
This was the quickest summer I remember. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that it didn't really start until we set foot on Canadian soil.  Cramming 3 months worth of summer activities into 3 weeks time has been impressive. 

Harvest picnics, lemonade stands, sandy toes, it's all been completed with aplomb. The end of summer was celebrated with a beautiful lakeside wedding.  Heaving with Canadiana, love and family, it was the perfect way to wear white before we banished the colour for Labour Day. 
Food from the garden. 
Lemonade (or Lemidad) for sale, on sale. 
Pretty girls and pretty dresses.
And cousins everywhere!
I was just going through my drafts and found this one from last December. I think I must have meant to post it for her birthday, and then, well, I don't really know. This is her, around 2 weeks old, and bald as an eagle. Stark contrast to the noggin Nora is sporting. Also, this pictures looks so QUIET. 
What Scotland may lack in savoury choices, it makes up for in its puddings/desserts. The most popular menu board selection is definitely Sticky Toffee Pudding. It's everywhere. You can buy it pre-made and it's delicious, or you can try your hand at this super simple recipe. 

Faithfully adapted from Nigella Lawson:

Sticky Toffee Pudding


for the cake
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped dates
for the sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • approx. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (in little blobs)
  • 2 cups boiling water

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5/375ºF and butter a 1½ litre / 6 cups capacity pudding dish.
  2. Combine the 100g / ½ cup of dark muscovado sugar with the flour in a large bowl. Pour the milk into a measuring jug, beat in the egg, vanilla and melted butter and then pour this mixture over the sugar and flour, stirring - just with a wooden spoon - to combine. Fold in the dates then scrape into the prepared pudding dish. Don't worry if it doesn't look very full: it will do by the time it cooks.
  3. Sprinkle over the 200g / 1 cup of dark muscovado sugar and dot with the butter. Pour over the boiling water (yes really!) and transfer to the oven. Set the timer for 45 minutes, though you might find the pudding needs 5 or 10 minutes more. The top of the pudding should be springy and spongy when it's cooked; underneath, the butter, dark muscovado sugar and boiling water will have turned into a rich, sticky sauce. Serve with vanilla ice cream, creme fraiche, double or single cream as you wish.
Claudia was the designated taste tester and chose cream as her topping. I went with creme fraiche because it's delicious and cuts through the sweetness. I seriously don't know why creme fraiche is so hard to find in Canada. It's in the corner shop and costs about 60 pence a pot here.
Anyway, I put it in a mug instead of a bowl because I love my mugs and the warmth of the pudding just calls out for a cuddle.  Claudia, obviously, approved.



1 Comment

Lots of coos. 

Exercising your Scottish "right to roam" can result in some menacing glances of the bovine variety. 
Breastfeeding is my job. The hours are long, my colleague is a mute, and the work really is back breaking. For the past three months, my office has been my bedroom, my bed is my desk. When the older girls come to visit they bring all their shit with them. So then my bedroom is my office is my nightmare. I can't walk for toys underfoot, well meaning scribbles strewn all about, and crackers under the covers. I needed to get out of that place.
I let the higher-ups (Aaron) know that change was about to run wild. The whole establishment was to be altered. The living room needed to start seeing some life in it. The kitchen was crowded and the dining room was desolate, except for three broken suitcases and one lingering moving box. 

Two days on, and it's a whole different work environment. Okay, enough with the long winded metaphor...

I like the house again. The living room sofa is under the window, and like cats we have all gathered to bask in the stream of sunlight. The baby can be found in her play-cot, hopefully sleeping soundly. There may even be a magazine being read. Big gasp. 

The kitchen is EMPTY. No more side stepping around the table to get to the fridge/stove/sink. I've brought a stereo in there, and the whole room is a dance floor. A ballet school, according to Eloise. 

And the dining room? Everyone, welcome back The Metaphor; it's a corner office, with a view.  
Hey you! 
Yeah, you.
You still here?

I wouldn't blame you if you weren't. 
I'd blame BT, aka British Telecom. And Clola. It's a hamlet. Our internet access is a lazy, hippy, slacker, hitch-hiker. Like, it will get here eventually, but it's going to take its sweet ass time. It's probably stoned, too.

Anyway, posting blog posts is an excruciatingly slow process. So I haven't been. I've been pre-occupied. With this face:
You understand, right?
Anybody there?
Do you feel awkward baring your breasts in public? If so, have I got a tip for you! Just dress your baby in a pink bear suit. 
People will stare at you, but they're doing so because it looks like you're nursing a stuffed animal. You'd rather be considered insane than indecent, wouldn't you?
A month ago, and three weeks earlier than expected, my water broke. If you ask Aaron, he'll tell you that I woke him up at 2 in the morning to tell him that my watch broke, but I know the truth. A baby was on her way and there wasn't anything we could do to stop it from happening then and there (or pretty close to it).
We calmly packed a bag, but not with diapers, or wipes, or a coat for our newborn. We didn't have those yet. We woke the girls up to bring them to a waiting room an hour away. We would have called a friend to watch them, but we didn't have that yet either. We called my midwife in Peterhead to tell her we were coming, but she said no, you're too early. I hadn't reached 37 weeks yet. Just one day short. Off to the big kid hospital. 
At 3 am we set off for Aberdeen. We did not drive for long. A gash in our tire made sure of that. An inaccessible spare tire finished off the job of ensuring that we would not be driving ourselves to the hospital that morning. For half an hour Aaron and I took turns waving down cars. Finally a car stopped. I told him we needed to call roadside assistance. He suggested we call an ambulance instead. 
By now the contractions had started to come on thick. I was put on a stretcher and the paramedics and I looked at the family that was being left on the side of the road. In they came. Our little family of four racing through the Scottish countryside, bumps and all, to deliver a baby that was also rushing to make the finish line.
2 hours later and I was at 2 cm. The laughing gas they had me on was now a joke. It was time for the big needle, especially since all of a sudden my ribs were descending through my birth canal and I needed to PUSH! I had somehow gone from 2 cm to 10 in what felt like nanoseconds, but was actually a lengthy 10 minutes. A nurse yelled for Aaron to come quickly from the waiting room, but it was too late. I had our baby in my arms. A very tiny, very tootie*, newborn Nora. 
*Tootie does not mean gassy, as we originally thought. "Wee cutie" is much better.
Life with three is, so far, absolutely insane. I'm counting down the years until I'll have more than five minutes to sit in front of a screen and write an entry. I can report that with four females in the house, the shrieking is mostly ceaseless. xo

Aside from observation, I don't know the first thing about what it means to have a sister. Sometimes the relationship seems to be one as thick as thieves, the next, mortal enemies. What will happen with a third in the mix?